Saturday, October 31, 2009

Let My People Go!

St. Mark's Chapel, Port Royal, South Carolina is in need of a letter writing campaign. This small group of Episcopalians is located in the heart of +Mark Lawrence's diocese. Yes, +Lawrence is looking more and more like he is going to leave the Episcopal Church (yes, I know he says not but so did his mentor, John David Schofield) and it looks as if he is not willing to allow true Episcopalians to go with their heart. In this instance, St. Mark's, a would be mission, wants to become a mission and stay with the Episcopal Church. Alas, Bishop Lawrence has not permitted this to happen, yet.

Here is the vision statement of St. Mark's:

Where We Are, How We Got There
And Where We Hope To Go

St. Mark’s Chapel, Beaufort, SC

Viewing St. Mark's Chapel as a work in progress guided by the Holy Spirit, we envision this statement as well to be a work in progress which will continue to evolve and mature as we do.

Who We Are and How We Came to Be
Anticipating the population growth on Ladies Island, in the mid 1990’s there was dialogue concerning establishment of an Episcopal mission in northern Beaufort County, an idea which unfortunately never materialized. The interest in such a mission resurfaced following the 74th General Convention of The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2003 when St. Mark’s Chapel formed under the leadership of The Rev. Mr. Roger William Smith, a retired Episcopal priest. Initially, eight people met at his house and began a ministry which now averages over 20 communicants each Sunday. Overall, our mailing list includes about 60 individuals, mostly confirmed Episcopalians. Upon Mr. Smith's recent retirement, the chaplaincy was assumed by the Rev. Dr. Robert Hansel, also a retired Episcopal priest.

Initially we were a house church that met in one another’s homes bimonthly. Realizing the need for a “consistent” location (to avoid confusion and attract additional members), in the fall of 2007 we relocated to the Room by the Bay of the Sea Island Inn in downtown Beaufort. In April 2009 we moved to the Port Royal Lodge in Port Royal. We now meet there every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Overall, we practice a shared lay/clergy ministry approach to worship and leadership of St. Mark’s Chapel. We have been fortunate in the availability of several priests to celebrate Holy Eucharist. When clergy are not available to celebrate Eucharist, we enjoy lay-led Evening Prayer.

St. Mark’s continues to be a Total Ministry fellowship engaged in outreach. Total Ministry means that we encourage all members, not just the ordained, to offer themselves to the community. Representing our chapel, St. Mark’s members have been active in Family Promise, a program for homeless families in Beaufort County, and in RxAccess, an ecumenical effort to assist eligible clients in applying for free or reduced–priced medications. In addition to hands-on outreach, we have provided financial support for Habitat for Humanity, mission work in the Dominican Republic, the Child Abuse Prevention Association and have been one of the leading diocesan supporters of the Episcopal Relief and Development program.

We view church as existing to support, confront and challenge members to engage the world in Christ’s name. We believe church life respects differences, openly addressing them directly while seeking resolution, reconciliation and acceptance. Accepting challenge, our chapel anticipates and welcomes change as part of God’s action. Underlying all we believe is our commitment to follow Jesus’ Great Command: Love God and love your neighbor.

We are shaped by an educational ministry which focuses on the teaching of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit for change in contemporary life. Due to the age of our members, we have not yet developed a children’s program but look forward to that as we increase in membership. Several of our members have experience in planning and leading Christian education.

To understand St. Mark’s Chapel, one must understand the context in which it has evolved. The Diocese of South Carolina is a group of primarily conservative parishes which tend more and more to emphasize their Anglican roots vs. the Episcopal. It seems to be leaning toward the theology of GAFCON (Global Anglican Future Conference sponsored by the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans). While we respect this difference in religious perspective, this apparent departure from TEC is a major concern of ours: We have no desire to leave TEC. We believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding us in ways to live via an ever-evolving understanding of the Message of Christ.

St. Mark’s celebrated its fifth anniversary in November 2008. During those five years we have made several attempts to be recognized officially in the Diocese as a mission. Our first venture was a meeting with clergy and wardens of St. Helena’s Episcopal Church (the only Episcopal Church in northern Beaufort County) to discuss the possibility of becoming a parochial mission of that parish. By mutual concurrence, vast theological differences precluded such a relationship.

Our next step toward formal Episcopal status occurred in the winter of 2007 when we attended at St. Helena’s a meeting called by then Bishop Salmon who, over the years, had been supportive of St. Mark’s and posited that “it was not nice to be in exile,” leading to our hope of becoming a diocesan mission. Present in addition to Bishop Salmon and Bishop-Elect Mark Lawrence were the rector of St. Helena’s and his two wardens as well as their Bishop-in-Residence Alden Hathaway. The final decision about our status was passed to the hands of Bishop-Elect Lawrence who, after he was consecrated, declined to recommend to the Diocesan Convention the admission of St. Mark’s as a diocesan mission. .

After that disappointment, a fruitful meeting with the vestry of All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head, resulted in All Saints’ request to the Diocese that St. Mark’s become their parochial mission. In October 2008, a delegation from St. Mark’s met with the bishop to discuss that possibility, and he, again, opposed the admission of St. Mark’s to the Diocese even as a parochial mission. Since that meeting, the members of St. Mark’s have entered into a period of discernment to explore who we are, decide where we want to go, and articulate our role in spreading the Gospel.

What We Believe

In meetings of the chapel committee and in full meetings of the congregation, we have committed to continue as a nurturing, inclusive group, accepting all people regardless of ethnic background, age, lifestyle, economic circumstance or sexual orientation. While we would like to be recognized as part of the Episcopal Church, that need not be our primary focus. We will continue to follow the canons and liturgy of the Episcopal Church (and the Diocese of South Carolina as long as it remains within TEC). Eventually, we expect to grow from a chapel to a mission to a church with hope of being a fully accepted member of our diocese and TEC.

Our theological outlook is characterized by scripturally-based, intellectually rigorous, imaginative preaching and teaching. We see St. Mark's Chapel as a place of worship in the Episcopal tradition: We appreciate theology that invites questions and requires our intelligence as well as our discernment. Devoted to the Biblical sacrament instituted by Jesus, we view ministry as a privilege and obligation of all baptized persons. Baptized members have a vocation from God and the gifts necessary for ministry. The primary work of the laity is to support the needs of one another and of those in need and at risk. The primary work of the clergy is to equip members to care for one another and other children of God.

St. Mark’s emphasizes an insistence on Christian morality (what is good and loving) but an avoidance of moralism. We accept the heritage of the apostolic faith and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the apostolic order which was established within the church.


“Faith is the substance of things hoped for….” Hebrews 11:1

St. Mark’s Chapel's hope is to model the health and integrity of diversity in TEC by becoming a viable institution accepting The Episcopal Church's emphasis on scripture, tradition and reason as necessary for the Church’s foundation. We base our hopes and intentions on two major considerations.

First, the demographics of our county strongly suggest the need for an additional Episcopal institution. The southern portion of Beaufort County has three recognized Episcopal churches offering diverse services to 72,00 people (an average of one church per 24,000 people). However, in our northern portion, only one church serves 70,000 people. By comparison, Charleston and its surrounding area has 31 Episcopal churches offering service to an average of 19,500 people. Clearly, there is a need for more Episcopal churches in Northern Beaufort County.

Second and primary is St. Mark’s desire to meet the needs of Episcopalians in northern Beaufort County who seek a progressive Episcopal alternative, one that can be fully supportive of TEC. The only recognized Episcopal community in Northern Beaufort County is theologically conservative and limits its support of TEC. Our vision is to fulfill the need for an alternative as we continue evolving as a worshiping community of loving, caring, accepting, serving individuals. As a congregation, we expect to continue growing into the essence of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

We will continue striving to create a community that participates with the clergy and with the community, committed partners in ministry to the world that God has created for us, being good stewards of our earth and God-given gifts — providing the most effective ministry we can offer. Our witness and service to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will be organized around five key elements of calling: Service, Worship, Education, Evangelism, and Pastoral care.

“Our worship together celebrates and mediates the reality of God, our learning together draws us deeper into the way of Jesus, and our acting together seeks to incarnate ‘the dream of God,’ namely, compassion and justice in the world of the everyday.” Borg, Marcus, and N.T. Wright. The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, Harper-Collins, 1998. 245.

Organizational Vision

Our organization structure has a stewardship mission focus: The Vision is that of an ongoing commitment to being good stewards of the gifts that we have received from God—mobilizing everything for the most effective ministry we can offer. Our congregation patterns its witness to Jesus Christ by organizing around five key elements of the Chapel’s calling:

•Service — Practical support and direct assistance to individuals and families in our community who are in-need or at-risk; paralleled by extended mission outreach and financial contributions for the alleviation of problem issues in the larger community of state, nation, and world.

•Worship — Using both the historical and contemporary resources and traditions of the Episcopal Church to enable people to experience in personal and corporate terms the presence and power of God.

•Education — Equipping people to understand the Christian Faith, to recognize its implications which touch all things, to work and give generously for the spreading of the Word, and to live creatively their Faith within the context of everyday life.

•Evangelism/Growth — Opening ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s presence that alone has the capacity to change and renew all people as co-creators of the Kingdom of God.

•Pastoral Care — Supporting those who are struggling with illness, isolation, disease, and death by surrounding them with God’s love as it is revealed by our own acts of compassion.
All members of our Chapel community are expected to become involved in at least one of these five areas of St. Mark’s Chapel’s calling.

Bishop Lawrence is located on Facebook and here is his diocesan address:
The Right Reverend Mark Lawrence
XIV Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina
Diocesan House
126 Coming Street
Charleston, SC, 29403

Do not let the good people of St. Mark's Chapel be buried in the "Anglican Diocese of South Carolina".

My Way or The Highway

Anyone in the Episcopal Diocese of Forth Worth or Quincy or Pittsburgh feelin' this song?

Cruisin' down the center of a two-way street,
wond'rin' who is really in the driver's seat.
Mindin' my bus'ness, along comes big brother,
says, "Son, you better get on one side or the other."

WO-OH I'm out on the border,
WO-OH I'm walkin' the line.
WO-OH Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order,
I'm tryin' to change this water to wine.

After a hard day I'm safe at home
foolin' with my baby on the telephone,
out of nowhere somebody cuts in and says,
"Hmm, you in some trouble, boy, we know where you been."

WO-OH I'm out on the border,
WO-OH I thought this was a private line.
WO-OH Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order,
I'm tryin' to change this water to wine.

Never mind your name JUST GIVE US YOUR NUMBER
mm, never mind your face JUST GIVE US YOUR CARD
Mm, and we wanna know WHOSE WING ARE YOU UNDER.
You better step to the right OR WE CAN MAKE IT HARD.

WO-OH I'm stuck on the border.
WO-OH All I wanted was some peace of mind.
WO-OH Don't you tell me 'bout your law and order,
I'm tryin' to change this water to wine.

ON THE BORDER leave me be, I'm just walking this line
ON THE BORDER all I wanted was some peace of mind, peace of mind
ON THE BORDER can't you see I'm tryin' to change this water to wine
ON THE BORDER don't you tell me 'bout your law and order
I'M OUT ON THE BORDER I'm sick and tired of all your law and order
ON THE BORDER say goodnight in here

- Glenn Frey, Don Henley & Bernie Leadon

Explanation to follow.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deposed Bishop Calls it Quits?

Well, the virtueless are at it again. As with most things spiritual, Mr. V has announced that Mr. John David Mercer Schofield has decided to retire! That is correct, you all heard it and you do not need to wash your ears out -- according to the blogster Mr. Schofield announced during the second convention of the Anglican Diocese of Something that he is going to retire in 2011.

Let's see now, many years ago Mr. Schofield (with Mr. Wantland) announced the formation of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. About 6 or 7 years ago Mr. Schofield announced, in a pastoral letter to all the parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin that he would never leave the Episcopal Church. A couple of years ago he announced that he had gone nowhere but that the Episcopal Church had left him. And then two years ago, he announced that it was not he who left but the Episcopal Church, rather he was forced to leave because his Standing Committee and all the people of the diocese made him do it. Then he announced that he was still a part of the Anglican Church. Then he announced that nothing had changed. Then he announced he was going to Lambeth. Then he announced he was not deposed but rather he had resigned from the House of Bishops. Then he announced that the entire diocese belonged to him and the Province of the Southern Cone. Then he announced that the entire diocese belonged to the "new" Anglican Church of North America. So what we have had from Mr. Schofield are lies and lies and damn lies! Should we believe him when he says he is retiring? Well, 70 has come and gone and he has not retired yet. I believe what he wants, what he craves, is for everyone in the diocese to tell him, "Oh no, John David, we love you so much we do not want you to retire. We want you to stay in office forever! We cannot go on without you. Who will protect us from the big bad TEC?" His ego craves it and let's face it, he has not had much good news. his court cases are about to come completely unravelled, his parishioners refuse to financially support his folly any longer, his parishes are returning to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin at an alarmingly faster rate each month, the diocese is broke and cannot get to any of the frozen assets and quite frankly, he needs someone to stroke his ego.

Ultimately the gambit is if I win the court cases then I stay on and I am more powerful than ever. The more likely scenario is that he is going to lose the entire diocese (facilities wise) and all will return to TEC leaving him and his cohorts with bupkis. He will then retire and blame all the mishaps on Bill Gandenberger and Van Mcalister.

Actually, I betting he will retire when hell freezes over. Think about that analogy in relation to JDS, gives one chills!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday: Resurrection Day

Sunday was a day of worship in the Episcopal Dioceses of San Joaquin. What you will see are images from that day. A word of caution, the camera is a cell phone and a slow lens at best. I could not always get the celebrant, the associate celebrants, the readers, the deacon, the seminarian and the choir to stand still. Conversely, I was able to generally stand still my self.

Bishop Lamb's sermon today was about wrecked ships, repaired bows, calmer waters and Resurrection. The pictures you see are from the resurrected group from San Joaquin. I think a good motto for us would be:
To Know Us Is To Love Us

This time I will ask you to pick the captions and I will allow the images to speak for themselves.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Images From the 50th Episcopal Diocesan Convention In San Joaquin

The evening was capped by an excellent banquet. These are delegates from Christ the King Community Epsicopal Church.

Not every convention goer gets this kind of a welcome from the staff!

A table representative provides input into the visioning process for the diocese. San Joaquin is moving forward into a new future.

A deputy to General Convention provides some detailed narrative on what transpired at GC 2009.

Clergy are still permitted to cast votes in our diocese. ;-)

The Chancellor provides expert Parlimentarian advice for the convention.

Bishop Lamb directs the order of business for the meeting.

Our typical convention goer. As you may recall he was once held by the Presiding Bishop. Now big enough to "motor on his own" he is prepared to meet any contingency. Notice the badges as well as pins.

Friday, October 23, 2009

White Fang, Black Tooth and Soupy Sales

Yes, I am old enough to not only remember Soupy Sales but I watched him regularly. Rarely did I "get it" until much later, after he had gone off the air. I thorughly enjoyed this program and I will, when my son returns from "olver there" get him a complete set.

Do you think St. Peter met Soupy with the proverbial pie in the face?

A legend has passed!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Sing-Along For A Sunday In October

I believe Lynn would approve. A great tenor and a truly magnificent song. October has been known to be the month of the Rosary and there is not a better way to celebrate than with this song. Crank it up and sing along!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Uniqueness of The Episcopal Church

The definition (at least one) of unique is: Being the only one of its kind:
Without an equal or equivalent; unparalleled.

The Episcopal Church in the United States of America "without an equal", it is unparalleled. Why can we say this? Well, if you look at our church, as opposed to any other of the "biggies" we are all hierarchical, much to the chagrin of the ACNA crowd. So it is not that. We are apostolic, I am still not sure what the heck that means in this day and age but we are Apostolic. If there is some question just ask good Ole Uncle Bobby over in Quitsburgh. But what really drives the rest of the world crazy is our bicameral legislature -- and not just that but the fact that laity have a large say in what goes on. William White, when formulating the organization and structure of our great church had much to ponder with regard to bishops and were it not for Connecticut we may have had none (fat chance) but from the start William White included the laity. Why do you suppose that is? Well, I think it is because ministry, holiness, closeness to God all come in flavors that do not necessarily look like turned around collars. That White trusted in the laity so much that he made us a part, a significant part of what happens each and every day in missions, parishes, diocese, and the National Church throughout America.

It seems in recent years we have lost ourselves. That no one in the ranks of the laity wants to really stand up and say wait just a minute! We all want to follow those with purple shirts and funny hats. And, much to the purple shirted crowd's delight, they have gratefully accepted the nod.

In the last few years we have seen a huge shift to the House of Bishops. Everything and everyone seems to focus on what the next bishop is going to say or do. Does it matter what the statement or action is, we are, for the most part, held in awe and amazement with each succeeding proclamation. Bishops want us to approve or disapprove the covenant. Bishops want us to be a part of TEC or not be a part of TEC. Some want us to be a part of the good part of TEC and not the bad part of TEC. Others want us to have nothing to do with TEC because it is or is not a part of the Anglican Communion. Bishops want us to approve or disapprove the Prayerbook or the inclusivity or exclusivity or the real or the fake bible. Hey, William White trusted the laity so much he made the House of Deputies first and then, after much prodding, did the House of Bishops came to pass.

How about this. The uniqueness of TEC rests with the laity and the trust put in the laity to discern and follow God's will. I trust William White. I hope you trust William White and I would like to see the Bishops of TEC trust the laity! How about it Bishops, can you share a little of that power? Can you trust the laity?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

CANY - St. Francis - Cat Stevens

Our friend and fellow blogger has been buried in animal rescue work for several weeks now. She gives many of us great hope that the world really is sane and that animals somehow hold the key. So, for this Sunday, a week after St. Francis, we salute our fellow blogger with Cat Stevens. I wanted Cat Stevens for All things Bright and Beautiful but could not find it so Cany -- it is Moonshadow -- hope this helps!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize

Finally, the image of our nation is beginning to change. Thank you Mr. President


A growing number of GOP types are having difficulty with the concept that America in the world is a better place/in a better place with President Obama than with former President Bush. Has a catchy ring to it, "former president", doesn't it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Morning Music

A treat and a tribute for this crisp Fall Church militant day in the valley.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mullins Deposition: Updated

The series on this document has now begun over at Real Anglicans. Your comments are gratefully accepted. Thank you for visiting.

Father Mark Harris has published a couple of pretty good posts on the recent spate arising out of South Carolina and Fort Worth. Professor Mullins on the Polity of the Episcopal Church is a critically important document that is just now coming to light. It has probably been around for some time and I would hazard a guess that this document is the written form that has been the basis for much if not all of the actions (or reactions?) taken by The Episcopal Church.

I have had a chance to read this document and, IMHO, it is a document that bears some significant scrutiny. Well, actually, having lived through the antics of Mr. John David Schofield and his gang of thieves, it will be well worth the time to investigate the travels and travails of the Diocese of San Joaquin in light of Professor Mullins deposition. I believe there is much yet to discuss with regard to not only the actions of those who would destroy our church but also those who would or are chiefly responsible for preserving our church. We will discuss missed opportunities, we will discuss actions taken and never brought to light let alone responded to in a meaningful way and we will talk about the motives and the means and the ultimate goals of those who "in good conscience" just had to reestablish themselves in a right relationship with Canterbury.

So, by all means read the deposition and the work Father Mark has developed and then look for the the multi-part series over at Real Anglicans.